It’s not only our ocean playground that is under threat, on land the situation isn’t great either. ‘Growing Pains’ is Hermann Vivier’s entry into Write To Surf – Zag’s surf journo competition with some epic prizes by Billabong up for grabs (see below for details).
GROWING PAINS – by: Hermann Vivier
When, as a young boy, my father went on family holidays to the little west-coast town where I eventually grew up surfing, they would walk knee-deep into the ocean and collect crayfish for dinner. Today, that same little town has been swallowed by the expanding metropolis of Cape Town and it’s more likely that you’ll find plastic covered in Chinese writing.
Modern humans. We’ve figured out how to do all kinds of funky things. We can check forecasts on the other side of the planet and watch guys surfing in a different time zone. All on a hand-held portable device. But despite all this gadgetry somehow we’ve still gone backwards. We’re the first generation threatening the survival of an entire planet.
Our ancestors lived their lives knowing that their children would inherit the earth, with all its abundance, just as they inherited it from their parents. We, on the other hand, cannot be that confident.
Oceanic gyres have created toxic islands of plastic waste. Rainforests are all but gone. For the first time in recorded history the Arctic Ocean is not covered with summer ice. Entire species are disappearing faster than during the previous mass extinction. We’ve hit the planet harder than an asteroid from space.
Shit. If we continue this way our children will have to settle for surfing indoor wave pools and climbing pot-planted trees. If anything at all…
We truly are at an infantile stage of development. Like a baby we cannot clean up after ourselves. And before you yawn and call me an environmentalist, let me remind you: you’re one too. Whether you like it or not.
I can understand if a rugby player doesn’t give a damn about the environment. But when we go surfing we’re closer to mother nature than most people ever get. Surfers should be at the vanguard of the most virulent environmentalism. We should be the ones showing Sea Shepard how it’s done, because the very thing that gives meaning to our lives is being destroyed. Every day.
And perhaps the average person doesn’t see it. But if you’ve ever surfed alone, you’ll know. Mother Nature is vast beyond comprehension. Thus, with her bountiful expanse, she’s been tolerating us for so long that the ignorant assume her patience to be endless. But like any mother with a crying manboy constantly shitting himself, at some point she’s going to get gatvol.
There is only so much water in her oceans and air in her atmosphere. She cannot absorb endless amounts of poison. She will reach her breaking point and only then, when it’s already too late, will those with their head stuck up their rectum finally notice the obvious.
There needs to be a drastic shift in the way we live our lives. Now. This is our only mother-ship and she’s being sucked dry while we expand our endless civilization of waste and destruction. Will you wait until your wax job is ruined by an oil spill before you stop and reconsider?
And it’s not good enough to buy boardshorts made from recycled plastic or ride a bicycle to the beach. Sure, these are great ideas, but if we do that and nothing else we’re simply delaying the inevitable. Slightly.
Because how’s it going to solve the problem if I make one cup of coffee instead of two, while Eskom continues using coal to generate electricity? I could make a million cups of coffee for the energy it requires to mine that coal in the first place!
And those bastards in high offices know this. They’re laughing and making big bucks while we’re paying through our noses for the very stuff that’s suffocating us.
Technologically we have what it takes to save this wonderful playground for our children to enjoy as we still barely do. But it’s going to take some effort. And we’ll have to do it ourselves. No politician or corporate will ever climb onto a jet-ski and slingshot us towards the channel. Because they’re not trained for it. They’re pop-stars and money-junkies.
It’s our responsibility because we’ve allowed this to happen. Just because someone is selling shit, doesn’t mean we have to buy it. We don’t have to pretend we don’t smell the stench. We have what it takes to grow up and clean up after ourselves. Off course, the usual suspects who profit from the status quo aren’t going to help us. But we don’t need them to. We have the power to change it.
We would need to cover an area equal to less than 5% of the Sahara Desert with solar panels to power the entire world. Relatively that’s nothing. And it’s just one example.
If we really want future generations to experience nature and the joy of surfing in the ocean, we must accept responsibility. Now. We’ll need to change our ways. The question is do we have the balls to take the drop? Or will we pull back and wait for the next set? Because it might not come until after it’s too late.
Click here to check out all the published stories from our Write To Surf competition.
Send your stories to email@example.com. One submission will be selected every six weeks to appear in Zigzag magazine. The selected submission will also receive a hamper from Billabong. At the end of the year, we will select and send one aspirant journalist from the competition on an all expenses paid assignment for a major feature in Zigzag. Zigzag retains the right to use any work submitted for the Zag Surf Journo competition on zigzag.co.za as outlined in the rules and terms of the competition. Zigzag reserves the right not to award a published winner in the magazine every six weeks, depending on the quality of entries. Zigzag is not obligated to run any and all entries submitted, either online or in print. Zigzag retains the right to edit all work submitted for brevity and / or clarity. Please note: Prize hampers will only be delivered within South Africa.
The Billabong prize hamper includes: 1 x Billabong Wetsuit; 1 x Billabong Hoodie; 1 x Billabong Cap; 1 x Von Zipper Sunnies; 2 x Da Kine traction pads.